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PALECO’s computer system upgrade to take longer than initially planned

The Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) has set back its timeline of completing its computer system upgrade designed to modernize its power distribution system and improve its overall services, due to the COVID-19 situation in the province.

Engr. Ferdinand Pontillas said in a virtual press conference Tuesday, April 6, that the first phase of their P40-million Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system set up will be completed by June.

He explained that the upgrade will help them gather and analyze real-time data and speed up electricity service resumption during outages within their franchise area.

“Supposedly, the schedule should have been last year pa pero since may pandemic tayo, na-push back ang ating targets. For the phase I, we are expecting to finish it by end of second quarter so that would be in June this year,” Pontillas said.

SCADA was funded out of the Capital Expenditure (CapEx) loan of PALECO from Rural Electrification Financing Corporation (REFC) which granted in 2019. It aims to lessen the problem with the supply and demand while the whole power system of Palawan main grid is operating.

It will also be used to immediately identify the cause of power loss and speed up the resumption of power through fixing lines or generators.

The project is a software application with hardware and communication component to gather live data from generators, substations and reclosers. It will also process the accumulated data and control the use of three segments of power system namely: generation from power providers, transmission by National Power Corporation, and distribution by PALECO.

Pontillas explained that the 60 percent progress of phase I manifest within their operation as they could now see the coming loads that could help PALECO to come up with faster decision in dispatching particular amount of load capacity from power plant.

“Meron tayong monitor, makikita natin ‘yong load na pumapasok at a particular instant. Halimbawa ngayong segundo, ano ‘yong load ng Wescom circuit, Poblacion circuit, at other circuit na nagko-comprise sa Puerto Princesa. Unlike before, hindi natin ‘yon nakikita pero ngayon alam na natin kung gaano kalaki ‘yong mga load na ‘yon,” he said.

“And based on that particular data that we have, we can have faster decision making when it comes to dispatching a particular amount of capacity coming from our power plants. Medyo lessened ‘yong pagkakaroon ng blackouts dahil sa kulang na dini-dispatch coming from our power plant dahil sa information na available ngayon,” he added.

Some of the coverage of phase I includes the automation of two 25MVA substations, automation of automatic circuit reclosers at Puerto Princesa, and the construction of SCADA control room.

Aside from the progress of SCADA phase I, PALECO is now also working with two 5MVA substations in Lucbuan and Montible with an allotted amount of P36 million each.

The electric cooperative has also started the site acquisition for Lucbuan 5MVA substation, while for Montible 5MVA, PALECO has signed a memorandum of agreement with Bureau of Corrections for the lease contract agreement.

Based on the given update of Engr. Renato Briones of PALECO, the electric cooperative is now working on the pending approval on connection to existing National Power Corporation (NPC) 69kV transmission line for two substations. 

“Ongoing sa ngayon ang Lucbuan substation, ang update ay nagkaroon tayo ng site acquisition, approximately 50 kilometers. Nag-umpisa na yong pagtambak sa area dahil medyo maputik at malambot ang lupa. Last March 25, nagkaroon ng MOA signing with BuCor para sa lease contract agreement ng pagtatayuan ng ating substation para ma-prepare ‘yong site at ang contractor ay magkapag-conduct ng survey,” he said.

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